Villanova is losing its second star player in two days.
Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career.
This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.
“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”
Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.
Because of his success at Villanova, Jay Wright is always a hot name when a high-profile coaching job becomes available. But Wright really does seem happy at Villanova.
It looks like Wright subscribes to the idea that money can’t buy happiness.
The Los Angeles Times published a story today about UCLA’s long and winding search for a new head coach. Before they eventually landed on Mick Cronin, they went after some big names in the coaching world, including John Calipari and Wright.
While Calipari showed some real interest in the gig, it doesn’t seem like Wright gave it a second thought, not even after UCLA offered to double his salary, according to the LA Times.
Read by the LA Times, here’s part of what UCLA’s senior associate AD Josh Rebholz said in a text message to donors after the school failed to hire Calipari:
We would have loved for Jay Wright to walk out on the floor, but even when we offered to double his salary, he still wasn’t coming. Nothing we can do about that. But I am proud of our effort. We didn’t assume anything, took our shots and I believe will end up with a solid coach who will embrace UCLA and build a program we all can be proud of and root for.
If that’s true, that UCLA offered to double his salary, Wright turned down a ton of money. According to USA Today, Wright makes $3,878,768 per season, so doubling that would give him an annual salary of over $7.75 million. That would be the second-highest salary in college basketball behind Calipari and ahead of Mike Krzyzewski.
It seems like Wright really does love it here.
Sports fans, it’s the best time of the year.
Even if you don’t have a team in the dance, you’re probably filling out a bracket and will be just as interested in all the games, until your bracket has been busted.
Speaking of a bracket, if you’re looking for something clean to print out, click here. If you're looking for analysis, our friends at NBC Sports have you covered.
Good luck this year and be sure to be gracious in both victory and defeat in your office pool.